Virtua Health’s planned $1 billion hospital complex in Westampton N.J. ready for public comment

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Two years after Virtua Health proposed building a $1 billion hospital complex in Westampton, New Jersey, the state Health Department will hold a hearing to seek public comment.

The hearing will be Monday, April  3, at 6 p.m.,at the Hilton Garden Inn in Westampton.

Peggy Leone, a spokesperson for Marlton-based Virtua Health, said there are “no major changes” in the latest plans for the hospital complex.  She declined to make a copy of the new plans available and said they can be reviewed by the public at the Burlington County and the New Jersey State Libraries, and at the health department.   

The renderings and the proposal that were submitted to Westampton Township officials in August 2015 depict a nine-story hospital,  surgical and rehabilitation centers, a hospice and assisted living complex and other buildings on a former 110-acre farm.   The buildings would  occupy about two million square feet of space.  According to projections, about 3,400 employees would work on the campus.

Virtua Health acquired the farm in 2014. 

The following year, Virtua Health presented a 108-page plan to the township’s Land Development Board for review and said that it would be developed over 20 years.  Some residents complained that it would bring too much traffic and congestion to the area, which is close to the Burlington County Library and Amphitheater.    

Leone said that town officials last year approved the general development project.  She had no other details.

The township’s Land Development board amended its master plan several years ago to allow a hospital and a town center with mixed business and residential use to be constructed in that location.

When the proposal was announced in 2015, Virtua officials said that the new hospital may replace the existing four-story Virtua Memorial Hospital of Mount Holly, located a few miles away.   That hospital was built in 1956 and officials said that despite several renovation projects and additions,  it is becoming outdated.   

The new plans for the Westampton site also include a helipad for emergency air transport to the hospital.

Leone said two Virtua representatives will attend the public hearing and will provide “brief testimony about the project, a quick summary.”

Members of the public who wish to comment will be restricted to three minutes each, according to the Health Department.  Members of the department’s Health Planning Board, who will preside over the hearing, will not respond to questions. 

The board will vote on the project at a meeting on April 13.  The time and place have not yet been set.

Written comments will also be accepted until April 4.  They should be sent to New Jersey Department of Health Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance, Market and Warren Streets, P.O. Box 360, Trenton, N.J. 08625-0360.   

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